Hivemapper reveals new Bee dashcam as its newest weapon in opposition to Google’s map domination


Mapping startup Hivemapper will launch a brand new dashcam later this 12 months that its co-founder says will speed up efforts to regain market share from Google.

The brand new Hivemapper Bee digital camera, revealed Wednesday, is a part of the corporate’s years-long effort to decentralize mapping and make map knowledge extra inexpensive and accessible. Hivemapper additionally hopes the digital camera will assist it increase past its core buyer base of courier and supply drivers to extra company fleet homeowners, probably rising its capability to seize extra map knowledge. latest and extra useful.

The corporate has already made notable progress utilizing knowledge captured from its earlier dashcam fashions mounted within the automobiles of hundreds of supply and supply drivers. Hivemapper introduced, along side the brand new digital camera, that its group of contributors had mapped 8 million kilometers (5 million miles) of roads world wide in 16 months – a milestone achieved 4 occasions quicker than it took to Google to cross with Road View, in line with the corporate. Hivemapper has stated it desires to cowl 10 million miles by early 2024 and instructed TechCrunch it expects to hit that mark in April.

Basically, the Bee is supposed to be a extra sensible or “passive” digital camera. It is weatherproof and sturdier, a lot in order that drivers can mount it on the surface of their automotive if they need. It is usually now not essential to log in to the Hivemapper smartphone app to add pictures to the corporate’s servers. The bee additionally processes extra of the information it captures on the system. All of this could make the Bee extra enticing to company fleet clients, CEO Ariel Seidman instructed TechCrunch in an interview.

The Bee is best than Hivemapper’s present cameras in different methods, with a bigger GPS antenna for extra exact positioning and the power to shoot 4K footage at 30 frames per second. Pre-orders start right this moment, and Hivemapper expects to start transport the digital camera within the third quarter of this 12 months. A model with an LTE chip will value $549 whereas a WiFi-only variant will value $449.

“Google can solely refresh its maps yearly, as soon as each two years” as a result of high-tech nature and excessive value of its autos, Gabe Nelson, head of operations for Hivemapper instructed TechCrunch in an interview. He claims that Hivemapper’s participatory group can “create the type of uncooked supplies wanted to create maps rather more rapidly.” Nelson says he expects that tempo to choose up as he works by means of a backorder checklist of greater than 15,000 clients and begins transport the bee.

However Hivemapper is not simply attempting to seize as many roads on the earth as attainable. “The holy grail is frequency,” Seidman says. “Should you go to, say, Scottsdale, Arizona proper now and also you decide a random place. We in all probability see this 80 to 100 occasions a 12 months. Google sees it possibly as soon as each 14-18 months.

Not solely does this enhance the map knowledge that Hivemapper processes and sells to clients, nevertheless it additionally opens up new enterprise alternatives. Late final 12 months, the corporate launched Scout, a “location monitoring instrument” that enables clients to “tag” a location and obtain pictures every time a Hivemapper driver passes. Prospects may even place a “bounty” on places to encourage drivers to make use of them extra typically.

Hivemapper’s clients cameras must also be higher off with the bee, in line with the corporate. Hivemapper pays contributors with a token referred to as Honey, which was lately listed on the Coinbase alternate. The corporate says Bee will create larger high quality map knowledge that’s much less prone to be rejected when submitted. (Hivemapper permits customers to carry out high quality assurance checks on map knowledge and carry out labeling in alternate for Honey tokens, and in addition makes use of AI to do a few of that too.) And make the digital camera a bit of extra autonomy – corresponding to automated knowledge add – means contributors. will probably be much less prone to overlook to do it themselves.

In fact, getting folks to be rewarded with tokens is not as straightforward right this moment because it was a number of years in the past, when the Web3 craze briefly took maintain. Nelson says many individuals need to purchase a Hivemapper digital camera for different causes.

“I believe what we have been actually attempting to say is, look, for those who’re knowledgeable driver, for those who’re an Uber or Lyft or Amazon flex driver, and also you already want this sprint digital camera system on board as a result of it ensures your security. and different talents, then it’s an incredible system as a result of it offers these talents and it additionally rewards with that token,” says Nelson. “For lots of them, they actually benefit from the expertise of constructing one thing they will see for themselves. »

It is a step again from the corporate’s rah-rah 2022 speak concerning the token. create “loyalty” and “ardour”, though comprehensible.

“I believe folks need to be pretty rewarded for the information they supply, as they need to be,” Nelson says. “However there needs to be, particularly within the case of a dashboard digital camera, there needs to be another helpful worth for the driving force that they get past only a token.”


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